If there is one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s sexy music. So naturally, when I first heard UK quintet Nothing But Thieves, with vocals that range from deep to androgynous and a thunderous but simultaneously smooth alt-rock feel, I was instantly hooked.
While combining elements of favorites like Radiohead, Jeff Buckley and Coldplay, Nothing But Thieves is no cookie-cutter knockoff of a mainstream indie legend. They have captured a sound that is catchy yet unique, and changes pace at a moment’s notice. It’s a sound that garnered not only the attention of fans throughout the world, but also the attention of another alt-rock legend, Muse.
Muse had the up-and-comers open for them at the sold out Rock in Roma show earlier this year, playing to a stadium of 40,000 people. Not a bad gig for a band that got their start playing blues covers in the local London scene and whose debut album hasn’t even hit the shelves. However, despite appearances, it has taken years of dedication for Nothing But Thieves to gain the recognition they are finally beginning to hold.
“The first two years, we all had jobs. Joe worked at Pizza Hut, I worked in a laser arena, Dom was a school teacher, Phil worked as a site manager and Price cleaned toilets. Fun times,” singer Conor Mason tells me, laughing at the sometimes toilsome road to fame.
But the odd jobs are a thing of the past. The last year has been a whirlwind of touring, and it’s only going to get more intense after their self-titled album release on February 5th. And while some aspects of tour are everything you could imagine, like opening for MUSE, or the time when fans broke in and swarmed their backstage area, life on the road isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. “I definitely find it exhausting. I bloody love touring, especially with these boys. We do have the best of times. I just am prone to illness, so I pick up bugs quick. In a van or on a tour bus it's bad. Had a hellish week when I couldn't sing due to my cold. But it's cool. I love every other aspect!”
It’s true, Nothing But Thieves seem genuinely happy, carefree and lighthearted about their newfound fame; just five normal guys who love the same music and love playing it. It comes across in their songs: a looseness that allows for an organic sound that doesn’t seem overworked.
Of their writing process, Conor tells me, “There is no blue print, which we love. We either start it all together fresh. Or someone brings a melody, riff in and we just crack on. Always fun because you never know what the outcome will be. Sometimes it's shit!”
In a world where everyone is fighting to be taken seriously, and scrambling to assert their superiority, Nothing But Thieves seem to have remained grounded and perfectly happy just to enjoy the ride.
To pre-order their self-titled debut album, and find out where they’re touring next visit: http://www.nbthieves.com
story by Lauren Hoover